Financial scammers have roamed the earth since the beginning of currency with many a person been caught out to con artists. Some caught up in the illusion have even ended up with massive debts to cover.
The most notorious scam of the internet age is the email. You have one million dollars of inheritance waiting in an account. You need to send us x amount of dollars and your bank account details and we can release the money. But scams can cover a range of things from investment in dodgy land developments, shareholder investment portfolio stockbroker scammers to elaborate online dating hoax preying on people’s loneliness. These scams ask for cash or use emails asking you to confirm bank account details with a fake login landing page.
How do you avoid scams?
Get informed! Always do your own research on a person or company before you deal with them. The internet is a great resource for doing your checks. Don’t just stop at the first search page either. If someone comes up glowing on the first search page with their new company name and highly SEO’d website doesn’t mean they are going to be reliable with your money. Dig a little deeper. Ask them of their experience and who they’ve worked with and search those organisations as well.
MoneySmart suggests checking the company’s Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence number if they are trying to sell you an investment opportunity. Do this by searching ASIC Connect’s Professional Registers.
MoneySmart tip off is: “It is illegal for a foreign business to sell overseas investments to Australians if they do not have an AFS licence. Australian companies also need an AFS licence to legally sell investments in Australia.”
If a company is offering investment opportunities and does not have an AFS licence or says they do not need one, do not deal with them and report them to ASIC. You can also check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with to see if they are on the list.
Many of you might be on the tail end of a Debt Agreement and are looking at making good investment choices to secure a stronger financial future. If you are then do those checks.
For the basic scammers that do blanket spread scams for pot luck in the hope of snagging someone e.g. email bank account security checkers posing as your bank, there are a few way you can protect yourself.
- Protect your personal information – personal, banking and credit card information is sacred. Be very careful with whom you share this information with, certainly not a company who rings you out of the blue. Check your statements every month, choose passwords that are hard to work out and never share them. Destroy all documents with pin numbers on them.
- Secure your computer and mobile device – delete suspicious and unsolicited emails you receive and do not open them. Install anti-virus programs and use high security measures on your devices.
- Do not call register – be guarded about offers made to you. Most things that look or sound like scams probably are. Hang up if you suspect a scam and do not get bullied into giving out your details. Scammers do not follow a set of rules but its a good start to register your number on the do not call list.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam call the police and report it. MoneySmart has a Report a scam page that list where you can report different types of scams. Also check the governments Scam Watch page.
If you’re facing financial hardship as a result of a scam we are here to talk about a solution. Call us on 1300 887 211 or Book a Free No Obligation Phone Consultation with our friendly team and we can discuss debt management options specially focused on your personal situation.